This weekend Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1 29 KOs) fights Canelo Alvarez (52-102 35 KOs) for a light heavyweight title in what is a “must win” fight for the former. Canelo is going up two weight classes to challenge Kovalev after coming off a victory against Danny Jacobs.
Canelo has only fought twice above the 160 pound weight limit and while he is 2-0 in those fights, they came against a Julio Cesar Chavez who was over-the-hill and against Rocky Fielding who should have arguably not been allowed in the ring with Canelo. So we shouldn’t read too much into those two fights as to whether Canelo can handle a higher weight limit.
Kovalev has a 5-inch height advantage and will likely have 2-3 inches more in reach advantage vs Canelo as well as fighting at a weight he is more comfortable with. Kovalev has had a resurgence post changing to trainer Buddy McGirt with recent wins in a rematch against Eleider Alvarez and a TKO win against Britain’s Anthony Yarde at home in Chelyabinsk after coming back from the brink. Kovalev looks to be back to his former self with a jarring jab setting up his powerful right hand on many occasions in recent fights. However, there are enough apparent holes in Kovalev’s armory for Canelo to take this fight. Kovalev is going on 36 and has shown that repeated body shots, especially late in a fight, are the way to beat him. Just ask Andre ‘SOG” Ward who beat him twice (once a tad controversially) as well as Anthony Yarde who was likely 3-4 punches away from stopping Kovalev in round 8 in what would have been a monumental upset.
Canelo and has team have taken this fight (just like they did with GGG) at the right time. Both Kovalev and GGG are champions but are on the wrong side of 30 and have shown weaknesses in their fight game in recent battles and Canelo looks to have once again immaculately timed this fight.
In this writer’s opinion no one in world boxing punches to the body with the cadence and power of Canelo and I think this will be the key to a win for the 29 year old Mexican this weekend. While Kovalev has power, Canelo has shown many times (see both fights vs GGG) that he can take a punch and comes equipped with a granite chin which I don’t see Kovalev getting past despite the size difference. Arguably GGG punches like a light heavyweight and in their two epic battles, despite being hit with some real bombs, Canelo was never really rocked by the hard punching Kazakhastani.
The bookmakers have Canelo as a huge favorite and rightly so. I see a late stoppage (round 8 or 9) making Canelo a four-weight world champion and simultaneously making the argument that this 29 year old is pound-for-pound #1, an easy one to make.